When a Top Revenue Officer Replaces Founding CEO - A Win!

Sometimes it turns out that businesses are just better off without their founder, or founders, running the show. This seems to be the case for Millennial Media Inc. (NYSE: MM) after announcing that company founder and CEO Paul Palmieri has resigned from his post as CEO and from its board of directors effective immediately. The company coincided this news development by disclosing that the preliminary fourth quarter results were above expectations, based upon strong brand and programmatic sales.

The company represented that this departure was telegraphed by Palmieri, as the press release said that he had expressed an interest in leaving “some time ago” to transition out of the company and to go back to working with early stage entrepreneurs. Palmieri is now shown to be joining New Enterprise Associates as Venture Advisor focused on technology.

The board already appointed Michael Barrett as CEO and member of its board of directors. If Barrett sounds familiar to many readers, it is because he was most recently the Chief Revenue Officer at Yahoo!. Barrett has had a long career in advertising and media, formerly working with a company acquired by Google in 2011, as well as having been Chief Revenue Officer at AOL and Fox Interactive Media.

Usually it hurts a company when the founder leaves, but sometimes it is a good thing. When a digital media company gets to replace a founder with someone who has four top online destinations as his background, that makes the transition that much easier. It could even be close to an instant revenue catalyst.

Millennial Media shares are up almost 11% on the news, and the 10 million shares traded as of 1:30 p.m. on Monday is already more than 6-times the average daily volume.

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